Recent Performances

Family Place Libraries

If you’ve been on the second floor of Central Library recently, you’ve seen some signs of renovation. Soon, some of that work will move to the first floor Children’s Room. Yes, we’ll soon see some changes that will support our new emphasis as a Family Place Library. That designation will align us with over 300 libraries in 23 states which have made a commitment to serving families with children from birth to age 5. Here’s the website:

What makes a Family Place Library special? Here are the core components:

  • Strong collections of materials (books, music, toys) for babies, toddlers, parents and caregivers.
  • The Parent-Child Workshop, which is a 5-week program for toddlers and parents, which emphasizes the importance of play and the importance of parents as a child’s first teachers.
  • Coalition-building with community organizations to develop programs and services that meet local needs.
  • Outreach to new and non-traditional library users, especially parents and very young children.
  • Developmentally-appropriate programming for very young children and their parents.
  • Library staff trained in family support, child development, parent education, and best practices.

Here at KPL, we’re just getting started on implementing Family Place Libraries. One of the most exciting projects is expanding the space in Children’s Room at Central Library so that we have more room to play! Soon, you’ll see a brand-new Activity Room open, the Story Room will lose one of its walls, and some things will be re-arranged. We’re excited about this time of growth and hope that you’ll be a part of our development as a Family Place Library!


Family Place Libraries

Moving Things Around

The next time you visit the second floor, you may think to yourself that things are not exactly the way you left them. It’s not your imagination; we have started to move things around in anticipation of renovating the Clarence L. Miller Family Local History Room. At this point the changes are minor, but we hope you will enjoy a lot more wonderful sunlight as we remove the shelving that once defined the eastern edge of the Local History Room. This also allows us to immediately serve patrons in this area from one desk, rather than two. We expect to start truly kicking up dust near the end of August.

Speaking of dust, on the first floor you may hear some construction noises coming from the staff areas. In preparation for the expansion of the Children’s Room, we are moving things around and consolidating spaces. Advances in technology and process improvements have helped use less space to circulate more materials. This frees up some square footage adjacent to the Children’s Room, which can be annexed to provide more activity space for children. So those noises you hear will become a fun new space in just a few months. Stay tuned.


Outstanding Websites for Kids

The Association for Library Services for Children maintains a great web resource for families: the cleverly-named Great Websites for Kids. The folks at ALSC are always watching for terrific resources for this list; recently, they added ten new sites. Aimed at kids up to age 14, there are also some very good sites aimed at parents and caregivers.

Using links like these, which are all vetted by the American Library Association, is one way for parents to sort through the immensity of the internet in search of quality sites for kids. Take a look at some of these and let us know what you think.


Family Literacy Night at KPL

What fun we had at Wednesday’s Family Literacy Night program for kids and parents from El Sol Elementary. We had stations set up all through Central Library, staffed by El Sol teachers, with activities for the kids. There was library card signup going on, kids were making Reading Buddy puppets, doing Mad Libs, learning about accessing info on the KPL website, seeing the Local History room in action, and even having a back-room tour!


Staff from many departments helped out: Spanish-language help from several library staff members, a great visual display of photos created by Local History staff, Facilities Management crews who set up, tore down, and cleaned up everything at the end of the night. Staff at the public desks did a great job giving directional assistance and helping families feel welcome here.


I know that an event like this can seem disruptive in a library, but it really does help us introduce new families to KPL so that they see the library as a place that has some relevance for them. It’s also an opportunity for us to strengthen our connections to the principal and teachers at a school. We had a great time last night and are already making plans for next year’s event.



Family Literacy Night

Paintings by John Wijinberg at Alma Powell Branch

If you missed the Art Hop circuit Friday please consider stopping at the Alma Powell Branch during our open hours and check out John Wijnberg’s exhibit. It’s one of our better exhibits if not our best.

John has provided us with some great portraits as well as some scenic ones. This exhibit will be showing until late September.


Paintings by John Wijnberg




Check Out a Telescope @ Oshtemo Branch Library

Through the generous support of the Kalamazoo Astronomical Society, the Oshtemo Branch Library of KPL is pleased to offer a telescope available for check out! The telescope, an Orion Star Blast 4.5" Astro, comes with a kit that includes all the tools you need to observe the skies, along with a simple instruction manual and star maps.

Members of the Kalamazoo Astronomical Society will be at the Oshtemo Library on Monday, July 16 at 3pm to talk with the public about the telescope, astronomy, and KAS. At 6pm they'll teach you how to use a variety of telescopes, including the library's Orion Star Blast. If you have an old telescope collecting dust, bring it in and they'll teach you how to use it! Then, on August 8, they'll host an observation session outside the Oshtemo Library.

Beginning Tuesday, July 17, the telescope may be checked out at the Oshtemo Branch Library for up to two weeks. You may place a hold on the telescope, but it can only be picked up at and returned to the Oshtemo Branch.  

While anyone may attend the telescope workshop and observation session, please be aware that the telescope is available to Kalamazoo Public Library resident borrowers in good standing, who are at least 18 years old and have a valid license.


Backyard Astronomer's Guide

Freedom from Surveillance

Yesterday marked the beginning of Choose Privacy Week, a national public awareness campaign, sponsored by the American Library Association’s Office for Intellectual Freedom, that seeks to educate the public on how to protect their privacy and understand their rights. Today’s digital age offers access to a wealth of information and numerous platforms for communication, but some new tools and technologies make tracking the activities of individuals easier than ever. Some members of Congress want to use these tools and technologies, like Facebook and Google, to monitor online activity. The Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (CISPA), passed in the House of Representatives on April 26, is a bill that aims to investigate cyber threats against the United States. The act would allow “elements of the intelligence community to share cyber threat intelligence with private-sector entities and utilities and to encourage the sharing of such intelligence.” What is considered a cyber threat is up for debate. A recent case involving the Twitter comments of British tourists is a good example of potential problems.

In this video, Michael German, senior policy counsel for national security and privacy for the ACLU’s Washington Legislative Office, talks about the government’s utilization of data mining for surveillance purposes.

Please visit Privacy Revolution to learn more about what you can do to protect your privacy.

The Kalamazoo Public Library is committed to protecting your privacy. The library does not release or disclose your personal information or library records without your written consent, or a court order. Please refer to the library's policy on the disclosure of registration and circulation records for more detailed information. As always, you may contact a librarian to learn more about this issue.

Why is privacy important to you? Who do you trust with your information?


American Library Association’s Office for Intellectual Freedom

Wednesdays are Fun Days

Every Wednesday at the Oshtemo Branch Library we partner with Connie Koening, an experienced Registered Nurse and Coordinator of Bronson Family Centered Education, from Bronson Hospital. Under Connie’s guidance, we host 2 programs – Toddler Talk on Wednesday mornings from 10:00 to 12:00 and Baby Talk from 1:30 to 3:30. Programs are designed to gather Moms, Dads, and interested adult caregivers and their children for good old fashioned play. Ms Koning facilitates discussions among the adults while the toddlers play with puppets, puzzles and look at books. Once a month, on the 3rd Wednesday of the month, I present a storytime planned especially for toddlers. I share stories, finger plays and action movements with the families.

Baby Talk meets weekly from 1:30 to 3:30 every Wednesday as well. We invite families with babies up to one year old to join Connie to network with other Moms and share the joys and trials of caring for a new baby. Again storytimes are offered on the third Wednesday of the month.

Come join us for some good old fashioned fun!



Storytimes at Oshtemo Branch Library

Concerts, concerts, concerts…

Believe it or not, this week we just passed another milestone - number 60 in KPL’s series of free concerts! Seriously, where does the time go? The Mickeys, a Kalamazoo-based foursome fronted by twin sisters Amy Sherman and Julie Peebles put on a wonderful performance Wednesday evening in front of a large KPL crowd. The sisters’ vocal harmonies are tight and focused, with superb instrumentation added by multi-instrumentalist Bascom Peebles and bassist Tom Rogers.

The Mickeys team took the audience (including Mom and Dad Mickey!) through a sixteen-song set, which included plenty of original material from their first two CDs (Finding Our Way and Walk Along), plus a sample from a soon to be released third. Great stuff! They included a cover of Tom Petty’s “Wildflower,” but their super-strong original material was definitely the highlight. Learn more about the Mickeys on their website and hear some samples of their recordings on Facebook and MySpace. Of course you’ll also find their complete KPL performance linked on our Concert Archives page.


Going back a month, KPL capped off another amazing year of concerts with a December 14th appearance by award-winning singer/songwriter Shelagh Brown. Shelagh is quickly making a name for herself as an up-and-coming country star. She not only earned a Readers’ Choice Award from the Kalamazoo Gazette in 2011, but won a nationwide contest to sing a duet with country star Josh Gracin on his latest release. Shelagh’s set at KPL featured highlights of her own work, plus a timely version of “Let it Snow.” Catch highlights of her KPL performance in our Concert Archives, and watch for more great things from Shelagh in the very near future.


Coming up next… be SURE to catch our February concert, featuring Jerome Holloway, he’s an AMAZING vocalist and musician. If you like his contemporaries like say Ben Harper or Jack Johnson, you’re going to love this concert. Jerome’s voice is smooth as silk and his songwriting is superb. Visit his website and listen to a few samples (very generously, you can download more than a half-dozen complete songs!), you won’t be disappointed!

Hope to see you there!


Concerts @ KPL

Pizza & Pages

On December 13th we're having our second Pizza & Pages book discussion at Powell. We had 12 girls to sign up and read a book called Prime Choice. Prime Choice is the first edition in a teen series by Stephanie Perry Moore. In the Perry Skky Jr. Series author Stephanie Perry Moore is writing from a male perspective, so even though a bunch of girls signed up for it, young men might find this series interesting, too. We’ve heard from the young ladies who've read the book that they loved it.


Prime Choice